Peacock’s The Traitors is a bit of an odd show in that, in essence, it’s trying to present something new — something different from the reality shows we’ve gotten accustomed to. However, the show works precisely because, despite the twists, it leans into what has made reality TV work for decades. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and The Traitors, for all its promises of something new, isn’t actually trying to. It’s just got a few tricks up its sleeve.
Good tricks, for the most part. Even when you can sort of see some of them coming, there’s enough drama — and surprises, to make that part of it worth it. But the casting (and the host!) is where the show excels. The Traitors’ whole premise relies on you not trusting everyone, and you need the right people for something like that. But then again, isn’t that always the case with reality TV? Outlandish ideas aside, what makes things click (or not) is the cast.
You don’t even have to like them. In fact, it usually helps if there are some you don’t. And with a cast of familiar faces, there will probably be at least one person that’s easy to hate for anyone even slightly familiar with reality TV. Well, and there’s Alan Cumming — always dressed to impress!
The rest is pretty formulaic, which isn’t really a bad thing. This is a reality show, and there’s comfort in the formula, in knowing what is coming every time, and in having some rules. If we wanted to be surprised at every turn, we’d be watching a drama. We want to say WAIT WHAT while still mostly knowing how things will develop. That’s why reality TV is an escape.
Plus there’s the fact that The Traitors allows you one thing most other reality shows don’t: a chance to binge! I appreciate the weekly what’s going to happen and who is going to do what as much as everyone, but it was fun to just take a few minutes to speculate in between episodes and then move on to the next one. I wanted to know!
And though there are no spoilers here — you want to know who wins (or who the traitors are) you are going to have to watch, I will say that at the end of the show, twists and all, I was pretty darn happy with the result, which isn’t always the case with these kinds of shows. Sometimes you just take what you can get and you tell yourself at least you had fun while watching. Not in this case.
There’s a lot of reality TV out there these days. The Traitors isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel, but it’s entertaining, it might surprise you a time or two and it’s really, really easy to watch. That’s a win in our book.
All episodes of The Traitors are now streaming on Peacock, so you don’t have to wait to find out who is a traitor — or who wins!